Ball to play the Opera House this Friday

CROWLEY - Continuing its tradition of featuring a “Louisiana” artist as its opening performer, the Grand Opera House of the South opens its sixth season with Marcia Ball on Friday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m.

A reception for show-goers will be held prior to the event.

Although born in Orange, Texas, Marcia grew up in Vinton. She blends her Texas-Louisiana connection in a musical sound that USA Today describes as “where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet.”

Reared in a musical family, Ball began playing piano when she was 5 years old. In her teens, she began listening to the music of New Orleans vocalist Irma Thomas, and she now credits Thomas as her vocal inspiration. While attending Louisiana State University as an English major, she played in a blues-based rock band called Gum.

While she was on her way to San Francisco in 1970, Ball’s car broke down in Austin, Texas. However, she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. Soon she was performing in city clubs and spending some time with a progressive country band called Freda and The Firedogs.

At this time, Ball also began to improve her songwriting skills. Delving deeply into the music of the great New Orleans piano players, such as Fats Domino and Professor Longhair, Marcia admits that hearing the sound of Longhair led her to conclude that she “had found (her) direction.”

At the beginning her solo career in 1974, Ball’s piano style showed elements of zydeco, swamp blues, Louisiana blues and boogie woogie. The Boston Herald has said, “Ball plays masterful, red hot tracks from the Texas-Louisiana border. Her voice can break your heart with a ballad or break your back with a rocker.”

Ball’s songwriting skills are highlighted in her latest CD, “Roadside Attractions” (her 15th solo recording). She considers this CD her “most personal album yet,” explaining that the songs reflect forty years of travel and a lifetime of experiences.”

Among the several awards that her music has garnered is the 2002 Blues Music Magazine Award for Blues Album of the Year for “Presumed Innocent. She received Grammy nominations in 2004 for “So Many Rivers,” in 2005 for “Live! Down the Road” and in 2008 for “Peace, Love and BBQ.” In 2004 she was named Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year. The Blues Music Magazine honored Ball as the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009. In 2010, she was inducted into the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame.

Individual tickets for this exciting performance may be purchased for $30 at the Grand Opera House office, by calling the office at 785-0440, or by visiting the website at www.thegrandoperahouse.org.

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